by Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC
Social networks help teens feel more connected. Social networks have become the place teens "hang out." However, if that teen does not feel like they measure up to other teens, it can become a world of loneliness and a constant reminder of perceived shortcomings. In extreme cases, suicide notes have been posted on Facebook, which demonstrate the powerful connection teens feel toward their virtual and real friends. Social networks offer teens a skewed view of the real world and they don't have the brain development to understand this is not the real world.
If the teen's family is not engaged with the teen, the social network takes on a much more potent place in the teen's world. In fact, it may become the child's only world. Pediatricians are now encouraging parent's to talk with their kids about being online and how to recognize depression caused by social media, cyber bullying, sexting and other online risks.
Ten signs your teen may be depressed:
1. Loss of interest in activities, hobbies and other things they used to be very interested in.
2. More isolated -- never see them with their friends anymore.
3. Sleeping all the time or up in the middle of the night because they cannot sleep.
4. A loss or increase in appetite.
5. Notable weight loss or gain.
6. Lethargic or flat mood.
7. More irritable or easily frustrated.
8. A downward trend in grades.
9. Not wanting to go to school.
10. Weepy, labile moods.
If you see any of these signs with your teen and they last more than two weeks, it is time to talk to your teen and make an appointment with your pediatrician for an evaluation of depression. Depression is insidious and many times teens won't know they are depressed until the depression lifts. Depression can kill, but it is also curable.
About the Author;
Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl's Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at http://www.starttalkingbook.com/ and more about Rapini at http://www.maryjorapini.com/.